A murder case has many layers: the victim, the crime, and the investigation. To truly understand it, you need to dissect each piece of a tragic puzzle. Join Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi and Scott Weinberger every Wednesday for an insider’s perspective, as they reveal to you the Anatomy of Murder.
Tue, 18 Apr 2023 07:00
Unpacking the mind of this killer gave investigators much more than they bargained for.
This episode contains graphic depiction of violence and body mutilation. Previously on a natomy of murder. There's two dead bodies. The crime was a masterpiece of technique. My grandson and chip, they had 128 stablin. Before he left, he was sliced open to the stomach to the inside. He put a phone in the woman inside the stomach and a cup in the guy. The police don't know anything, they're not telling us anything. We have nothing. So the person is Dale Marsh. Is Dan here? Dan Marsh? It must be. Dan? Yeah. You sit there and shock. I've fascinated with natomy. Because Dan was 15. You have an obsession and would be a convulsion. Maybe more than anybody I've ever run across. I've got Weinberger, investigative journalist and former deputy sheriff. I'm Anna Sige Nikolasi, former New York City homicide prosecutor and host of investigation discoveries to conviction. And this is an anatomy of murder. Last week, we started profiling the double homicide of Oliver Northup, who went by chip and his wife Claudia Mopin, who is affectionately known as Granza to our guest Sarah Rice. Two months after the murder, investigators received a tip, leading them to their prime suspect, a 15-year-old teenager. So let's go back to the first time I thought about killing someone. And now FBI profiler Chris Campion is about to unpack this teenager's long obsession with Gore. As you already know, Anna Sige and I choose not to give a killer a platform any further notoriety than the press coverage they received from committing a heinous crime. But in this episode, we believe hearing Marsh talk about his mindset, his twisted views on taking two innocent lives is a unique view into the mind of a true psychopath. And so we discuss and use his statements, hopefully as some type of insight. That perhaps by listening, we can someday understand or at least understand a bit more than we do today. And that really is our only hope for change. Try and figure out how to stop at least some of these crimes before they occur. I was telling my father about killing the woman not my mother left my father. You were about to hear firsthand from a 15-year-old how his violent thoughts could turn into action. You're going to get a teacher? Yes, because you were so angry at her. Yeah. Marsh began to tell the agent for the very first time he ever talked about killing someone. It was the woman his mom had left his dad over. I saw her as the reason that my family was with the part in the NinoA she was a thing part of us. Okay? So what we're going to do at H10, what was your plan? It's going to split her own. Okay? How are you going to do that? I'm going to do where she went. So you know, Scott, I started to think about this. You know, is it so horrible that a 10-year-old would have these thoughts? Yes, like they are incredibly violent, but it's also a 10-year-old who's had his stability. His family completely ripped from him. This is not the other woman's fault, but you can understand why this 10-year-old would put all his feelings against her, the outside person. But it also speaks to this child just being unable to cope. And it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to jump to be this someday killer. Well, I mean, slit her throat and he was only 10 years old. You know, it kind of goes back to a study from 2019 that was pretty shocking to me, to be honest. It's show that having murderous thoughts is actually normal. More than half of us imagine killing someone, usually the targets are boss or ex-partner, but these are just fantasies, not something that people react upon. But I was pretty shocked about that. I mean, that's a huge number. 50%. I don't know. I think people say a lot of things, which is that study, say, every time someone says, like, I wish my boss is dead, is that part of the study. So I think it's very hard on paper to know what type of data that study is taking into account. Because do I think that 50% of people actually fantasize in this type of detail about the murders? No. I think maybe wishing someone was dead, but not by your hands, might be something that more people have had that fleeting thought. But so I don't know. It's certainly a large number, and it talks about something much deeper within our society, if true. So what's the next time that you can remember? I think it about killing someone. Daniel admits that the next time he had murderous thoughts was in the seventh grade. And who was that? It was a neighborhood of Taylor. I was just, I thought about everybody at that school gave me so much. So I just thought about just showing up one day and seeing him in the eye could take out before they took me out. How far did you get in that one? Did you ever have fun to go? Yeah, I tried, but I didn't really succeed. And again in the eighth grade? The eighth grade I still had the same desire. And again in the ninth grade. Ninth grade is when I got more intense life. Every time I look at someone, in my mind I see flashes of images of me killing one. In numerous ways, in numerous horrible ways to interoperable things. I can't help it. Just what comes into my head when I see them. But I don't want it to. Fantasy is not talking just about fantasy here. He's talking about compulsion. And it just comes to his head. And I can't help but think that his fantasies and his mind could be reality. But it also shows these thoughts are obviously part of his mind that they are almost taking him over and how desperately he must have needed help. And I don't know, I couldn't help but thinking like how many would-be killers have been thwarted by getting the mental help that they needed. You know, before they acted on those thoughts, because as you said, these compulsions are something that were beyond him, that he couldn't control, and they were growing and growing and growing until they at least appeared to have taken him over. When was the first time you started thinking about these people down the street? That night I just, I couldn't take it anymore. I had to do it. I lost control of my dog. I just went into the street and walked it around for a while. I was just, which house I should get here? Who would be a good victim? What time did I wasn't? I think it was like two in the morning. We were all ahead of the walking down the street scoping out apartment complexes and houses trying to see, you know, who would be, which one can I do with you? Who left the donut and went to his windows, everyone had done a good job with those blocking their doors and closing their windows until I got to their house. It totally makes sense that Marsh was familiar with Chip and Claudi's home now. his dad lived nearby and at one point, he even visited the house. Think of this, he had been at their house before. I went in once when we first moved there. There's just gonna be a little problem for them, you know? Okay. So how long did that have been? Two years, you know, the showers are home. I went in the kitchen, I went in the living room. I made a bedroom. But this time when Marsh walked into their home, he was dressed in black from head to toe. He was wearing a ski mask and when he entered their home, it wasn't through the door, but through a window. I got a hole on the screen, not even a hole, it was just a flap that I could get in and out with. Climbed it into the back, went to their bedroom, opened the door, and they just kind of stood over their bed, watching the sleep for a few minutes. Nobody was trembling. I was nervous, but excited and exhilarated. I was actually going to do it, I was there. It's finally happening. Nervous, excited, exhilarating. He's using those words to describe what the prospect of actually committing homicide was making him feel. It makes me think of some reading I've done on psychopathy, which is a subtype of anti-social behavior. And it says that psychopathy is linked to thrill seeking. It's almost like an out-of-body experience. I didn't feel like I was really there. It was real. The moment woke up, I just started standing over and over. You know, he talked about she woke up, and the adrenaline that he got of like, now is my time. Like, I hold all that because that was my grand. I know my grandson was fighting for us. She was fighting for her life, but deep down the side, like she didn't want to leave. She didn't want to go. I mean, it's such a worse nightmare. Person dressed in all black standing over here with a knife. Like that is your worst nightmare. And then the husband woke up, and he looked over, and just as he looked over, I stabbed him with a neck. Then I went back to him and the woman, because she wouldn't die. I stabbed her a lot, made sure they were both dead, and then I just kind of kept stabbing my dead bodies. You've been a member of that, I wasn't done. And I was just coming to my master's home, just kind of open both of their torsos. You're around here. This ties directly into Marsha's morbid fascination with anatomy. What happened right after that? Right after? Got the phone in the cup. But the phone you've heard, but the captain didn't know that. And then I left. Just to listen to how matter of faculty, he speaks about murdering and mutilating, clodient and chip. It goes to another sign of psychopathy, which is the impaired capacity for empathy and remorse. And when we talked about what would the significance be of these items, what did it mean? Well, Marsha made it very clear. It meant nothing. I'm sorry, I just wanted to f*** with the people who went there like in that city. Yeah, I would be us. And you know, throw them off, make it look good on. Make it look good on what the hell. He was just doing it to throw investigators off any trail. I heard. I figured. And then your head goes like, oh crap, like how many times did I call Granza? How many times did I call her? And I still to this day can't take her phone number out of my phone. Because there's one day I just want to call her. But I'm not going to. I never will. Because the idea of where her cell phone was, it's haunting. It's haunting. How did it feel then? It felt great. I was pure happiness. And I drowned in and dove to me into all of it. Or crushing over me. You and I have heard a couple killers talk like this before about this feeling of just utter euphoria. Just in the moment that they do that actual kill. And it is one of the most chilling aspects to me of this type of a killer. Most things are already enjoyable feeling that better felt. Throughout the interview, Mars confided in Chris about different people he had desires to kill. Come and debate whether I have this next question there. All right. But then Chris digs into how deep those murderous thoughts truly go. You mentioned that pretty much everybody you meet you have thoughts about killing them and how you would kill them. You know, so how would you kill me? There's a lot of ways choking you to dust with your tie, eating your face into the mirror until it broke and using the glass to cut your arteries, gouging your eyes out and just smashing your face into the wall. Nothing personal. This is something that just happens. And you know, Scott, you have to think for a moment if we step back that chance and look really played its hand. In this investigation. Because what if that anonymous call had never come in to 911, right? Because would they ever have then sat down with Daniel Mars and found out about who he was and then gotten this admission? I completely agree. That phone call really launched the investigation. And I could see even to this day, the lack of physical evidence and the things they were unable to find in that pristine crime scene would have likely left this case wide open. What were you wearing when you went to those boots, black socks, black pants like these, black gloves, and then those black skiners? Now investigators then went on to conduct a search of their house because he told investigators during his interview that they would find all the items that he had worn the night of the murder in his home. Where are hard those things down? You might get a rush. They find his clothes, the mask, his jacket, and his shoes. And this goes to show how well planned out these murders were. To make sure he didn't leave any shoe prints behind, Mars placed duct tape on the bottom of his boots. Surprise, after surprise, after surprise. The surprise was all the things that he did and how he was meticulous and taped to shoes. I have never heard of anyone doing that on a seagull and I was sort of amazed that it actually worked. Yeah, it's just one that I've never come across. And why I always say that no matter how long you've done this and how many cases you've seen, there is always something new. And this in this case was that one. I mean, think about it. To have the forethought to place duct tape on the soles of his shoes so that the markings like you might have unbearious brands of sneakers wouldn't be picked up. Was there actually an helix back there? That's a crazy one. There are unknown DNA profiles. I don't know if they're yours or not, we'll find out. Could be might have made out of a small error at the house. I don't think I did this one. No, it was a very well executed crime. Not done about it. Thank you. Daniel Morris says to Chris Campion, they're pride. Daniel Morris is feeling pretty good about himself right now. Well, I think I look at it into his mind. Certain killers want their skill at committing their crimes to be acknowledged. So yeah, I think there is that. Oh, you saw what I did and he is proud that that was acknowledged. I really hope you don't cry anymore. Okay. Are you ready? Pretty much. Now with this admission from March, they place him under arrest. I have to put you down to another party building. It's not the process. When they first arrested him, you know, we're sitting in this room at the DA's office and they were up there talking to us about, you know, we've got this guy. He confessed. We're 99.9% sure. And they're saying it with a smile on their face. And we're all looking at him like, why are you smiling? We're suffering. Like, we need to know like, is this guy going to be put in jail for the rest of his life? Like, can you give us anything? And no, they can't. Because they can't give us anything. There's a lot of positive things for prosecutors walking this case into court. Not just a powerful confession, although that would still need to be admitted into evidence, but physical evidence recovered from his home. Statements he made to a friend. But the other hurdle is his age. Would he be tried as an adult? He was 15. Just turned 16 when he was arrested. And we were like, huh? Now, depending on where you live in this country, it depends whether you're tried an adult court or juvenile court at different ages. It used to be 16. It changed to 18, at least in New York. But there are certain categories of crimes murder being one of them that you can be taken into an adult court at 13, 14, 15 years old. And it really makes a difference in the final outcome if there's a conviction of how much time you'll spend in jail and where you will be placed during any sort of commitment based on the court that you are tried in. A DA is in charge of determining, are they going to go to trial as a juvenile, are they going to go trial as an adult? Depending on the crime, it was ruled in our case by our DA that he was going to be tried as an adult because of the severity of the crime. Can you go get the death penalty? I don't know if that's kind of a far-fetched, you were 15, right? You know, 15 and got psychological issues of what it is. Marsh goes to trials in adult, but the fireworks didn't begin in the courtroom, but in the halls just outside. We're standing in the hallway, and it's a very, very tiny courthouse. And we're standing in the hallway with his dad, his sister, his sisters like on Taraja friends that are also his friends. And now Marsh's family is standing in the same hall, which again, that's expected that they may be there to be there for his trial. But they're not just there. And they're heckling us. They're mocking us. They're making fun of us. And then in that moment, two officers come walking down the hallway and he walks right in front of us. And I'm not kidding, he was less than three feet away from me. And it made Sarah and her family angry and also made them feel all the more vulnerable. It took everything in me to not lunch or DA then came and took us into the room. And you're like, what the hell just happened? This is the side of the story that doesn't get told. The situation at times so tense and emotional Sarah and her family feared for their safety. And my mom actually hired a bodyguard to sit with her the entire five weeks. He was a eight time black belt but he was also like a gentle giant. Just kind of held the space for my mom. Marsh originally pleaded not guilty but then changes his defense to not guilty by reason of insanity. So how is the defense going to attempt to prove this? Right? It's because yes, of course there is something wrong with him if he is in fact the one that committed these crimes. Well they're going to prove it based on the experts by psychiatric reports, by looking at his history in the past. For the first four weeks as they had to prove that he was sane, they had to prove that he had meticulously planned everything. But at the end of the day, what the law says is that many people suffer from various mental disorders, mental disabilities that they commit crimes but still need to be held accountable, the test is whether you know right from wrong when you're committing the crime. Like they were showing pictures of like the perfectly placed glasses in the kitchen and the jewelry box that didn't have anything missing. Just the amount of precision, the cleanliness, there were no shoe prints, like weeks and weeks are just like showing all the details. Remember going into trial, the famus of Chippen Claudio were spared much of the details of the investigation. And of course that incredibly gruesome crime scene. But now that they're sitting in the courtroom, the entire case will play out. And then the prosecution plays Marsha's taped interview. I found her a lot made sure she was both dead. At that moment, I watched my mom stand to her feet. And she closed her eyes and she held her hands to her side. And she just stared at him with her eyes closed. And you saw all the bailiffs in the room. There were a lot, kind of get concerned. I never just couldn't cut having my day on. And for the next 45 minutes, my mom stood and listened as he talked about what he did. It's like bombs of information. I got a hole on the screen. Are just going off. I opened both of them towards one. After the other. After the other. Most things are already enjoyable feeling I've ever felt. You could see my mom's just like the veins coming out of her neck because she's just like sobbing and looking up to the sky and gripping her hands so tightly that they were white. And at one point, I turned around and I saw Granza in the courtroom. And that's just my own like so fully feeling she was present. And my mom was honoring her because Granza fought for her life because she didn't want to leave. She didn't want to leave her kids. She didn't want to leave her grandkids. On September 26, 2014, after a five week trial, the jury reached their verdict. Guilty on both counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances, they found that Marsh was in fact sane when he committed these crimes. And with that with sentencing, he was given 25 years to life for each count of murder plus two years for the special enhancement. While this was the end of the trial, it is not the last sorrow here from Daniel Marsh. So three months later, I get another call and I was like, what? Daniel Marsh is a part of this rehabilitation training or something in prison. And there's a TEDx talk that he did. This was one of those things that I just put my head down that this convicted killer by all accounts of very guilty of all these crimes that he was given this platform to speak and to put out what he wanted to say publicly. It's on YouTube. It's 14 minutes of him telling the world that he did bad things to people and that he's serving time for that, but that he's a rehabilitated man. You know, it's one of those things that I would just never even take the time to view it for a second to not give him that audience. Yeah, I just gave it 20 seconds on a scene to be honest. The only quote that I heard him talk about, he says, quote, there are no such things in the world as evil people. Just damaged people and that was more than enough for me. And I hear that, but I do believe that someone that commits crimes like this is likely damaged. But I will not give them that as the excuse for taking that which has damaged them and then brutalizing other people. You know, I'm fuming. I've never heard my mom scream as loud as she did cry. Because not only did he speak on camera, but he's spoken front of 200 people who gave him a standing ovation at the end that don't know what he did because everybody needs a second chance. It doesn't matter the crime. He's rehabilitated. And again, we are not experts in this at all, but everything that I have dealt with in the past and also talking with the prosecutors and the FBI investigator in this specific case, we're not going to be something easy or ever able to rehabilitate. And so with that, yes, medication can help with various things, with many type of disabilities and health challenges that people face. But certain things are just never going to go away, which means that society can never be safe if someone who has the mind like Daniel Marsh is ever let out of those prison walls. We knew that we couldn't get the video down because it was, you know, it's YouTube, right? We have really good friends that work for Facebook and Google. My friend who works for Google said, I know how to do this and within 24 hours of him working on it, the video disappeared. And then Sarah hears about Daniel Marsh again. In 2016, California legislature passes Proposition 57, which holds that juvenile court judges must decide where the juvenile offenders are tried in juvenile court or in adult court. So I was like, so what does this mean for me? And so what that could mean for Marsh's case, if it went back there, is it might be back to the beginning. So they took it out of the hands of a district attorney and they're putting it in the hands of a judge. Well, that's great. That's fine. So what does that mean? Well, it means you go to a fitness hearing and they're like, if the judge determines that it should have been in juvenile court and it should have never gone to an adult court, he'll be out when he's 25. And I was like, no, no, no. He's 20. He could get out in five years and they're like, yes, he can walk away in five years. A free man, no probation, no criminal history. That's absurd. He could walk out of jail in just a few more years. He is out like you and me with us on the street. Then new legal challenges arose when legislators proposed a new bill, Senate Bill 1391, which prohibits juveniles under the age of 16 from being tried in adult court. Basically eliminates prop 57, stating that no juvenile will ever be tried as an adult. If this goes into effect, Daniel Marsh can fall into retroactively fall into SB 1391 and he will no matter what be released in his 25. He doesn't have to do a finesse here. First of all, I can't let a person like Daniel Marsh get back on the streets. I'm already mad. You already took two people from me. But if now you're going to tell me that this individual can get back out on the streets in less than five years, you better believe I'm going to do something. Sara approved herself to be a fighter, just like her grandson, and she was going to do whatever she could to try to shake up the system and stop that bill from being passed. So I did. I did a press conference with my mom and with chips, daughter Mary, and we spoke and we got the news out. Sacramento is the capital of California, the seat of the state's government and it's where Sara would rally friends and family to raise awareness to this bill. And I'm like, maybe we do a petition. Oh, we can't be the only family, right? There's got to be other families. So I start to put some feelers out there. Three families right away that are affected by it. Equally. And she really became an activist in every sense. They did press conferences. They had petition sign with thousands and thousands of signatures. They conducted a rally. So we did the petitions and we got, I want to say, we probably had 10 to 20,000 signatures. And our idea is to get as many thousands of signatures as we can to get it onto the governor's desk and beg him not to sign this into effect. After all of Sara's efforts and the other families that also got involved, the governor signed the bill. It's just heartbreaking. It's the governor signed it. And so in 2019, it went into law. Marsh had a fitness hearing per the rules of Prop 57 and the judge ruled that he does stay in the adult system. But he still had a sliver of hope with SB 1391 because his case is still an appeal. And yet the case still goes back and forth to court. So there is no finality. At least not yet. The legal wrangling still goes on. Think about what a scary thought that is for Claudia and Chip's family for the community. Even those that knew Daniel Marsh, just the thought that he could get out of prison and walk amongst them. Sara said at best that she and her family and those other victims of homicide, you never forget our move past what has happened. But it is possible to move forward. Am I retraumatized every single time I get a phone call from whoever because there's something going on or I get the email that comes from the California Appellate Court? Yes. But you move forward. But you carry this with you forever. Yes, it's ten years. It's ten years of some hard work. But I hope that if anybody out there is listening like maybe see the light through my voice, the smile, that there is a lot of healing that comes through all your pain. I remember when a member of my production team from True Conviction first brought me the file on the murders of Chip and Claudia. He was 87. She was 76. And seeing the pictures of them together and then a few minutes later the crime scene photos and then watching the full confession of a 15-year-old left me with so many more questions and answers. And in producing that story, Anisega, myself, and AOM's executive producer Sumit David, who also was the executive producer with me on True Conviction, had the opportunity to spend time with Sarah and her family as well as the lead prosecutor and of course Chris Campion. No matter how much you think you know about human behavior or what people are capable of, a case like this comes along. The one thing I do know is that the strength and drive that possesses Sarah to get that justice is a force to be reckoned with. A voice for both Chip and her Granza Claudia. There isn't a day that I don't think about my Granza. There isn't a day that I don't think about how she died. But there also is never a day that I don't think about how wonderful and kind and gracious and incredible she was. She was the most selfless woman. And if I can do what she did in this world for others, then that's my responsibility. Anatomy of Murder is an audio-chuck original produced and created by Weinberger Media and Forcedic Media. Ashley Flowers and Sue McDavid are executive producers. So, what do you think Chuck? Do you approve? Oh!